Mikhail Brusnev was born 13 (25) January 1864, in Storozhevaia, a stanitsa (cossack village) in the Kuban’. He became active as a revolutionary in 1881. He developed links between students at the St. Petersburg Technological Institute, which he attended, along with technological students at other parts of the University of St. Petersburg with the workers’ study circles developed by D. Blagoev and P. V. Tochisskii. Brusnev's contribution focused on circulating and printing revolutionary literature. During 1890 he attended Nikolai Shelgunov’s funeral, and in 1891 he organized the celebration of the first May Day in Russia. After graduating, Brusnev worked as a technologist for the Moscow-Brest railway, and extended Social Democratic activity in Tula, Nizhny Novgorod, Kharkov, and Kiev. He circulated literature from Georgi Plekhanov’s group, Liberation of Labor. Following his arrest in April 1892, he served a four-year in prison term and then was then exiled to Yakutia. In 1901 he joined a Russian arctic expedition. In 1903, alongside Aleksandr Kolchak, he led a search for the lost expedition of Eduard Toll, bringing back Toll's diary. He also found the remains of a mammoth in the island of New Siberia during his unfruitful search for Eduard Toll. He returned to St. Petersburg in 1904. Then he joined the Engineers’ Union. In 1907, Brusnev was elected to the State Duma representing the left bloc of Bolsheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries.
- William Barr (1980), "Baron Eduard von Toll’s Last Expedition: The Russian Polar Expedition, 1900-1903", Arctic, 34 (3: September), p. 201-224.
- The Carcasses of the Mammoth and Rhinoceros Found in the Frozen Ground of Siberia.
- The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). accessed 19 October 2011.